by Olivia Morse ’17
We were on a boat. It was the first science honors field trip during our freshman year at Houghton College. The trip was turning out like any classic field trip I had experienced in high school—until my peers began to congregate at the back of the boat. Watching the waves that were created, a discussion broke out concerning the physics principles behind the creation of the waves. It was then that I realized the genius, science-loving brains of the students surrounding me and our shared love for learning. This began one of the most formative years of my college experience.
For me, science honors was a massive conglomeration of new experiences and exposure to different areas of science. Our project focused on climate change, a world issue that I had not dwelled on much before coming to Houghton. We studied the Albedo effect, ocean currents and weather patterns and looked at the history of climate change and its current impact in our world. With our own separate backgrounds and areas of interest, we were able to collaborate to create and launch a radiosonde into the atmosphere. Our radiosonde was equipped with an Arduino microcontroller programmed to run and collect data from various sensors for atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide and ozone. With our radiosonde, we caught a glimpse of the gases residing in the atmosphere above Houghton.
Heading into the science honors program, I never expected to learn how to program a microcontroller, solder metal together, critique scientific papers and collaborate extensively with my peers. I grew most in my ability to work alongside other people. There is nothing quite like devising an idea for a project with peers and seeing the project through to completion. We learned how to take learning into our own hands, search for answers ourselves and glean from each others’ strengths and weaknesses. Looking back to the day that I decided to accept my position in the science honors program at Houghton, I can say with certainty that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.